The Final Stand
The Final Stand opens grey and gloomy, cold into action with rain pelting, mud everywhere and men screaming. It’s another war film trying to find a semblance of humanity and reason in the face of combat and bloodshed. The feature documents the brutal resistance of the Red Army against the Nazi invasion in Russia, 1941. One can already distinguish the cliché of Pearl Harbor seeping through the plot, even at first glance.
Artyom Gubin plays Sashka Lavrov, imbuing his character with all the audacity and mischief in the world contained in a sly smirk. Portraying his best friend and opposite is Igor Yudin as Dmitry Shemyakin, who is stern and straightforward. Marsha Grigorieva (as Lubov Konstantinova) is the woman in the middle of the love triangle, with very little agency and remaining bland throughout. It’s a wonder the character captured their interest, with so little allure. The small snippets of storyline from the other families, and friendships formed among the background characters, are far more interesting than this particular one.
There is constant movement with the camera (from unfocused close-ups to quick cuts from one scene to the next), which reflects the urgency of war. Many films of this kind use heavy blue or grey filter to emphasise the bleakness of the battlefield, but not here. Instead, the production allows the dull and neutral colours of the uniforms, the smoke screens and the dreary skies to create atmosphere. The effect is furthered by the quiet, understated score that isolates the sound of shots being fired, bullets clinking and dirt crunching.
The Final Stand exhibits some really eye-catching shots amid mediocre and extremely shaky action, but one can only see so many explosion sequences and shootings before they become dull. The emotional impact of each death is reduced as viewers are desensitised, and while this collates with the film’s jaded theme, as a two-and-a-half-hour watch, it’s exhausting.
The Final Stand is released on Amazon Prime Video on 18th June 2021.
Watch the trailer for The Final Stand here: